10-man Hawks Earn Replay
Harlow Town put their recent league results behind them to earn a deserved replay, despite playing the final half hour with only ten men.
Captain Sam Higgins put the hosts ahead with a well-taken goal, before two goals in three minutes for the Hawks put them ahead. Alex Read hit home from close range to equalise before Xavier Vidal scored the second.
The hosts drew level from the penalty spot, after Craig Pope was shown a second yellow card for a foul in the box. Higgins had a chance to seal the win with a second penalty, but Hawks stopper Ben McNamara saved the second effort to set up a rematch at the McCullochs arena.
Harlow Town had the best opening chance when Alex Read went through, but as he rounded the goalkeeper he recovered well to smother the ball.
Sam Higgins then went close for East Thurrock, but he put his header wide of the goal as he found himself unmarked in the centre of goal.
The game flowed from end to end, as Harlow Town next went on the attack. Junior Dadson cut in from the left to unleash a right-footed shot, but Lucas Lidakevicius got a hand to the shot to turn it over the bar.
The hosts took the lead when Lewis Smith played Higgins through on goal. He rounded McNamara before finishing well.
Junior Dadson had another good opportunity when Fabion Simms put him through behind the defence, but he sent the shot just wide of the post.
The goalscorer almost turned provider when Huggins’ cross was met by Max Cornhill in the middle, but the header went crashing off the bar before being cleared from danger.
Another Huggins cross was almost turned in by Montel Agyemang, but McNamara saved the close range effort.
The Hawks pulled level on 32 minutes. Following a goalmouth scramble, Jared Small’s shot was blocked by Reece Harris, before being played out wide to Junior Dadson. East Thurrock failed to clear their lines as he put a cross in the danger area, and Alex Read lashed the ball into the roof of the net to equalise.
Just three minutes later Harlow took the lead. Jared Small set up Craig Pope on the wing, and his pacy delivery was parried by Lidakevicius. It only went as far as Xavier Vidal, who showed composure to pick his spot and finish low past defenders on the line.
HT: East Thurrock United 1-2 Harlow Town
East Thurrock nearly scored a bizarre own goal soon after the restart. A cross in from the left bounced off Ryan Sammons and beat the goalkeeper, but as it was trickling towards goal, scampering defenders cleared it off the line.
Both sides were still creating chances, but the pace of the first half seemed to have died down. Syrus Gordon sent a long range effort over the bar for Harlow, before East Thurrock’s James White saw his long-range effort tipped over the bar by McNamara.
With 66 minutes gone the visitors we reduced to 10 men. Craig Pope, having already received a yellow card for a rash tackle just after half-time, fouled Sam Higgins in the box. Pope was given his marching orders, and the striker picked himself up to dispatch the penalty and equalise.
The Hawks were up against it, and 11 minutes later the game seemed to be slipping away when the referee awarded a second penalty for an innocuous looking challenge from Jideofo Maduako. This time though, Ben McNamara got down low and saved the penalty well.
The final minutes ticked away, and the Hawks held on for a deserved replay and to put themselves in the draw for the next round.
FT: East Thurrock United 2-2 Harlow Town
Harlow Town will now host East Thurrock in the replay on Tuesday 3rd October. Kick off is at 7:45pm.